Disaster Preparedness | Comment | athensmessenger.com

Two years of COVID and weeks into a war between Russia and Ukraine, it may have crossed your mind many times to consider disaster preparedness. “Catastrophe” in this case means an interruption in your ability to obtain or maintain your basic needs. Shelter, warmth, water, food, security, and a few other things might be on your list of things you need.

The onset of COVID caused shortages of hygiene products, then shortages of some processed foods due to employee illness and facility closures. Global supply chains and manufacturing are still struggling, then comes an unprovoked war in Europe which is currently causing global economic disruption, inflation and who knows what more will happen there.

What can you buy/get today that you might not be able to get tomorrow? What to do if the power goes out for two days. Two weeks? Will you lose water? Can you heat your house? I think it’s wise to write down some of these questions that apply to you and find short and long term solutions that match your current abilities. Canned foods and dried foods do not require refrigeration. One-gallon jugs of drinking water if you think your water source may be affected might be a good idea. A small inverter attached to your car battery will provide enough electricity for some LED lights on an extension cord.

Auxiliary heating is a difficult task if you do not have economic means. If you have natural gas, oil, or propane heating, a small generator (less than $500) will run this system if it’s pre-wired for it. Small portable propane heaters are available for less than $100, but you need to be extra careful to have enough ventilation for most of them.

Consider talking with your neighbors and banding together if needed in the event of a disaster. Four to five families/relatives putting together resources to plan for a disaster might make this achievable for the group where it might not be possible for each individual. A larger generator and the cost of fuel spread across the generator is a more efficient solution given the rarity of the problem. If you can’t survive on your own, you need to plan where and who you can join. Talk to that friend or relative. Make plans. Don’t take the livelihood you currently have for granted. Access to food, clean water, electricity, security, healthcare, law enforcement, work. Some of these things are more fragile than we realize. Take a moment to think about what you would do without them.

Jason Morosko is a local passive house consultant and energy engineer.